Friday, June 25, 2004

The best "thing" I found at NECC

As usual, I came away from NECC with lots of ideas, information, and connections. If I had to name the single most important thing that I am taking back, it would have to be the information that I found out about LeapFrog SchoolHouse and their products. I will be revising my technology budget next week to purchase enough of their products to pilot them, demonstrate them and evaluate them for possible implementation a year from now.

Before leaving for NECC I had received an invitation to attend a special event sponsored by LeapFrog SchoolHouse and had declined. After stopping by their booth and finding out more about them and their products I asked if the invitation was still open. Following are notes from that event (which I still got to attend :-) )

LeapFrog SchoolHouse sponsored a breakfast with
Dr. Therese “Terry” Crane as the featured speaker. She is the Senior Education Advisor for Infotech Strategies; Chairman, Nobel Learning Communities, Inc.; and a former Senior Vice President for Education, Apple Computer.

Children develop in the world, not on a growth chart. They don’t all learn to read at the same age or at the same rate.

Technology is only Technology for those born before it was invented.
Alan Kay

For the average teen, Technology items make up half of the top ten things important to them (mp3 players, instant messaging, etc.)

Humor is important, we can use technology to connect and communicate with students. The are looking for interactive products.

Millennials (term for students of today)
The average 15 year old
Has never dialed a phone
Purchases movie tickets over the Internet
Plays computer games rather than board games
Downloads music one song at a time (some of us used to buy music on 45’s that way :-) – Craig)
Pays with debit cards rather than checks

Today's education system faces irrelevance unless we bridge the gap between how students live and how they learn.

With todays education we need to bridge the gap between kids learning and their use of technology.

We need to move away from
teacher centered to student centered
single sense to multisensory
single media to multimedia
isolated work to collaborative work
passive learning to active/inquiry
factual/knowledge to critical thinking
Isolated context to Authentic/real world

–empowered by the latest technologies

Dream how technology can not only improve education but also transform what we think of as education.

If we were to teach every standard it would take 22 years of K-12 teaching. Standards movement needs to get to reality – there isn’t enough time

Ian Jukes says that education will not be confined to a single place, a specific time, a single person, human teachers, memorization, paper based, linear learning, the intellectual elite, childhood, controlling learners

The Third Decade of Educational Technology

For technology to succeed it needs to be easier to use and reliable, affordable for sustaining 1 to 1 technology initiatives. Years ago Apple made the eMate – the goal was to come in under $500 and it ended up selling for $650. The goal now is under $100. This makes it capable of extending the school day by sending it home. We need solutions directed toward giving teachers the daily data they need to succeed.

Leapfrog is promoting Personal Learning Tools (PLTs). These are technology powered learning kits, intelligent workbooks, multisensory books, with data uploadable to current infrastructure (desktops or laptops).

Desktops, laptops, PDAs were not designed with us in mind. We try to get them to fit into education. Leapfrog technologies are being developed with teachers and students in mind.

Cost of illiteracy in the US is $20 Billion per year.
Those without a HS diploma earn 42% less over their lifetime than those who graduated.
75% of dropouts have reading difficulty.
33% of welfare recipients not literate.
75% of prison inmates – no diploma.
38% of 4th graders can't read.
Disproportionately (70%) prevalent among children living in poverty.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says:
Systematic, Explicit, and Intensive Instruction in–
Phonemic Awareness
Reading Fluency
Reading Comprehension Strategies

Intervention can change the 38% failure rate to less than 6%!

Technology in Education 2003 –Market Data Retrieval Schools that have failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress requirements for NCLB are "slightly below average" when it comes to giving their students access to technologies.

It was really more about teachers' ability to use the technology well and use it often than it was about what kinds of technologies were available to the schools.

Keep your mind open to new technologies and new paradigms that are coming.

There’s a new wave forming – Jump on the wave!


Author’s note: The rest of this is information that I found by searching for more information about LeapFrog SchoolHouse.

It was announced that her PowerPoint presentation was going to be available on the LeapFrog SchoolHouse web site, but it hasn’t been posted yet.

LeapFrog SchoolHouse Advances as the Fastest Growing K-12 Instructional Software Publisher in 2003

Research information can be found in one of their newsletters at

U.S. Department of Education Selects Leapfrog Schoolhouse to Participate in Multi-Million-Dollar Early Literacy Studies

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